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Excellent Search Tool: HoudahSpot

HoudahSpot

HoudahSpot is a powerful file search tool for OS X. A trial version is available. Single-user, family license and site licenses are available.

I (Lloyd) use Spotlight a great deal via its cmd-space shortcut. But Spotlight has degenerated in various ways, including not being able to find file names at times, and finding wholly irrelevant things when all I want is source code. It is also a messy business to find specific things in Spotlight without jumping through hoops with qualifiers and such.

Enter HoudahSpot, which offers all sorts of features for searching, including default search settings (a big deal for me), templates for specific types of searches, and much more. Simple as it is, the dialog below works like a charm every time without the mess Spotlight generates for me with the same search. Here, I want to find source files with a certain name. Or, it might be a function name within those source files. By using HoudahSpot, all the other gunk is filtered out (binary files, jar files, log files, etc) simply by requiring files of type java (Spotlight does not do this correctly with name:.java as tedious experience shows).

So as simple as this example is, it already is a big deal for finding what I want. Summary as per the developer:

Find important documents, mail messages, photos, image files and more:

  • Start with a simple search
  • Refine it by adding and combining criteria
  • Search several folders at once. Exclude others
  • Add and sort by any of the hundreds of columns available
  • Preview files and text matches
  • Find files by name, text, content kind, file extension, author, recipient, pixel count, etc.
  • Combine criteria to quickly zero in on the files you need
  • Customize columns in the search results list
  • Filter the results to see only relevant files
  • Set up templates for recurring searches

HoudahSpot is a powerful file search tool. It uses the Spotlight index ‐ which comes preinstalled with OS X ‐ to get you to your files in no time.

HoudahSpot search window
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